A Place for Lady F

You will notice a large gap between announcing the closing of our store until now. There are many reasons for that:

  1. I am writing for several clients which leaves little time for me
  2. I had a baby
  3. I am obsessed with said baby
  4. I really wanted to figure out how much I wanted to share about our baby’s life, and how intimate I wanted these posts to be
  5. Still figuring out #4 without it becoming a “mom blog”
  6. Said baby is now a toddler, so I guess its time to commit to something
  7. You can see snippets of what we’ve been up to on Instagram

The Tinderbox is Transitioning

With the change of the year, and the arrival of a new baby, so comes a big change for The Tinderbox. After an amazing couple of years, we are going into hibernation mode and putting a hold on continuing operations at our brick & mortar studio/shop in Mid-Main after this weekend. Although we are temporarily closing the physical site of our business, we will continue to host seasonal craft Markets and collaborate with other Houston independent businesses to bring you craft + DIY classes throughout the year while we pursue other creative opportunities.

The idea for the studio sparked in Ren’s head over 5 years ago and it’s been a long and hugely rewarding journey toward realizing our vision of a space where people came to learn, share, create, and shop from a variety of local artists year-round. We’ve been fulfilled beyond belief throwing some memorable craft parties, offering a unique variety of workshops, fostering the development of many independent designers, and meeting so many amazing, creative, and inspirational makers. We have also loved being a part of Mid-Main, a cohort of small business owners and like-minded developers slowly reinvigorating a once-neglected block. It feels like family here, and we will continue to stay connected to this special place.

The end of one venture often signals the start of something new…the beginning of the next exciting journey is already in the works, and we can’t wait to announce our next project soon (wink wink)! We are thinking hard (and objectively) about repackaging and moving our current setup and catering to the needs of Houston makers and shoppers looking for unique and handmade products. We hope you’ll continue to follow this path with us and stay connected through FacebookInstagram, &/or Twitter.

Forever in our Hearts
Forever in our Hearts

Houston Makerspace

A few weeks ago I took a field trip to Houston Makerspace and got a wonderful tour of this incredible facility. I’ve been to ADX in Portland, and was excited to hear that fellow crafter and business lady Maclean Smyth was bringing the same type of facility to Houston around the time we opened The Tinderbox. To see it come to fruition and currently building momentum is great-from Culture Map’s Lane Lynch:

“Maclean Smyth, the founder and operator of Houston Makerspace, is working to pioneer a maker revival in the Bayou City by installing a large co-working, craft warehouse called Houston Makerspace — the first of its kind in the Bayou City. The forthcoming workshop will provide members with access to the tools, equipment, classes and co-working space they need to create, craft and collaborate with fellow artisans. Smyth believes the city has a deep-seated, untapped resource of capable, committed crafters that would greatly benefit from working together and learning from each other’s trades and skills.”

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The first thing that struck me was the size of the warehouse and the opportunities that come with 20,000+ square feet. My head was spinning with the possibilities of classes and educational opportunities that we cannot facilitate at The Tinderbox. Take a tour through pictures below of the jewelry fabrication space, screen printing setup, laser cutter, 3D printer, carpentry area, metalwork space, sewing and textile room, photo room, and classroom.

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“I believe that creativity aspires innovation and ambition in our culture,” Smyth says. “With this space, we can build a society of makers right here in Houston.” That is exactly what we wanted to create at The Tinderbox, so I am happy that the same attitude is being fostered elsewhere in the city. To finally see the space in person was really exciting, and I encourage everyone to go check it out, take a class, and most importantly invest in the businesses and opportunities in Houston that make it a much better place to live and work. 

 

Bayou City Art Festival

We were excited to partner with the Bayou City Art Festival and host the “Adult Creative Zone” for the 2nd year in a row. The festival took place Oct. 11-12 at Sam Houston Park. During the previous year’s festivities we got rained out, but the weather cooperated this year and we helped more than 400 adults stamp leather keychains, decorate totes, and create origami birds for the Peace Crane Project. It is always fun to see adults act shy and tepid around anything labeled “creative” or “DIY,” but everyone had a great time, and we were happy to further our mission of connecting people to projects that use their hands and allow them to open up the creativity inside of us all. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers and especially my family who came out and helped make this event happen (my sister is seriously the best). Oh, and thank you KHOU and Great Day Houston for the lovely news segment the Friday morning before on The Tinderbox-we are so proud to be woven continuously through the ever-changing fabric of Houston. 

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The leather stamping station was a big hit; participants stamped a personal message or phrase into a beautifully handcrafted leather keychain made exclusively for this event:

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The “decorate your own tote” activity station took on a path of its own with people thinking outside of the box and creating impressive designs with the stamps and inks provided. The bags were a hit because it provided a way for people to carry some of the goodies they were buying at the festival! 

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For the last project we tag-teamed with the “Kid’s Creative Zone” and asked participants to create origami cranes in hopes of making 1001 by the end of the festival. The Peace Crane Project is a worldwide effort to connect people through the arts. 

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So We’re Having a Baby…

“The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death. They hold through time so that yesterday’s love is part of today’s and the confidence in tomorrow’s love is also part of today’s. And when one dies, the memory lives in the other, and is warm and breathing. And when both die — I almost believe, rationalist though I am — that somewhere it remains, indestructible and eternal, enriching all of the universe by the mere fact that once it existed.”-Isaac Asimov

So we are expecting a baby girl at the beginning of February 2015! It’s funny…I started to Google “preparing for a natural…” and it autofilled “disaster,” (instead of the intended ‘birth’) which is a bit what it feels like thinking about becoming a parent. There are so many things to worry about, and to stress over, and I am also mourning a bit the loss of my selfish existence, without the dependency of a child. 

We are seeing the midwives at Texas Children’s and we have been very pleased with our experience so far. Besides the extreme “morning sickness” that had taken over my life the first several months, everything else has finally settled and I am well into the last month of the 2nd trimester. Its a strange elation, thinking of this little being growing inside of me. Entering the Fall and our busiest season at the shop and the Mister’s craziest time at work, there’s a rush for life to happen. With so much anticipation of whats next, I sometimes make it impossible to enjoy whats happening in the now. In our mechanized world of speed and efficiency, we sometimes forget that life is a process of ripening, and when I think of all of the stages this baby has to go through I am reminded of that. Seeing the Midwives and practicing Mindful Birthing has helped in trying to experience and observe the rhythm and pulse of this baby and my life as a whole.

I know the time is going to come, with this tiny human awkwardly staring up at us, basically saying, “so, now what?” And I know we will be just fine. I am embracing the fact that life will rarely be balanced, and that it doesn’t need to be for everyone to be happy. Thank you for all of the love and well wishes we have already received-this baby is going to be in such good company. 

Proud Dad
Proud Dad
The Grandmas doing what grandmas do
The Grandmas doing what grandmas do